There are over 100,000 cellphone tower sites in the US, housing expensive telecommunications and other radio technologies. Chester County has 32 cell tower sites and until recently relied on padlocks or keypads, which offered no activity log and were easily compromised. The county was experiencing copper theft, vandalism, and graffiti. They also had no way to grant access to technicians arriving at sites unannounced and no audit trail of who was coming and going.
With a limited budget, network connections were out of the question. Chester County installed ECKey’s cloud-based VIZpin service at approximately 20 of the county’s 32 cell tower site—saving more than $80,000 with no loss of functionality or control compared to older panel/server based access control solutions. ECKey’s VIZpin service provides sophisticated electronic access control at a fraction of the cost of traditional access solutions that require panels, wiring and network connections.
Department of Emergency Services Finds Perfect System to Safeguard Cell Tower Sites
ECKey provides higher-level protection and full data access at fraction of competitors’ cost
In the United States, there are over 100,000 cellphone tower sites. These locations often house expensive and critical emergency, telecommunications and other radio technologies. Cell towers are an essential part of the nation’s critical communications infrastructure — without cell and radio connectivity, emergency communications to contact and direct first responders would be significantly impaired.
Chester County, one of the three original Pennsylvania counties created by William Penn in 1682, is located in the southeastern corner of the state. The Chester County Department of Emergency Services (DES) has approximately 32 cell tower sites and, until recently, the most secure form of technology used to guard these sites was lock and key or a simple keypad.
DES was experiencing an increase of incidents of copper theft, vandalism, and graffiti at their cell tower sites. In addition, DES staff had no way to grant access to technicians arriving at sites unannounced and no audit trail of who was coming and going at any of the sites. There are many solutions on the market to deal with these pressing needs to upgrade security, but the county had a significant constraint — it was not possible to install network connections at each of the widely-distributed sites within their budget and time limitations.
With ECKey, DES officials use their cell phones to gain and grant access to any of their cell tower sites.
Officials from DES sought ideas to solve their wide array of security challenges. The Protection Bureau, an SDM 100 company located in Chester County, had recently completed the ECKey certification course and demonstrated the ECKey EK7 Stand-Alone Access System with hosted VIZpin® Visitor/Access Management to the decision makers at DES.
The DES decided to install the EK7 reader with VIZpin at approximately 20 of the county’s cell tower sites because the solution offers a wide range of features and benefits few other systems could for the cost.
With ECKey, DES officials use their cell phones to gain and grant access to any of the cell tower sites; there are no keys, fobs, or card keys; installation and administrative costs are a fraction of competing systems; and data associated with each site is available in the cloud from each approved official’s smart phone. No more driving to each site, no more limited data access from a dedicated PC.
- With ECKey, Chester County DES has the potential to control all of their critical infrastructure sites with one cloud-based system and minimum hardware.
- The installation will save the county more than $80,000 when compared to the closest competitor.
- ECKey integrates the features of a standard access control management system into a simple Bluetooth reader, providing an easier-to-use system at a lower cost.
- Without a network connection at each site, there was no audit trail of access activity. With the ECKey solution, all data travels from the reader through the smart-
phone to the cloud and back again. No network connection is required and the critical data is available anytime through a web-based portal.
- The ECKey solution is scalable — there is no limit to the number of sites you can add. DES can add 5 or 50 sites at any time, depending on when they have the budget and time.
- Under the old lock and key or keypad systems, the county had considerable liability and expense exposure. Anytime a key was lost, the re-keying cost for all those sites was onerous and time consuming. With ECKey, access can be revoked in minutes without going to the site or paying for new hardware.
The installation will save the county more than $80,000.